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Overall Rating
4.5

Awesome73.45%
Worth A Look: 13.27%
Average: 7.96%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 5.31%

4 reviews, 89 user ratings


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Princess Mononoke
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by Greg Muskewitz

"The visual look of the film is more worthy than its mundane story"
3 stars

"Princess Mononoke," a Japanese import made in their native land in 1997, is visually, and sometimes plottingly original too.

"Mononoke" is a Japanese animated movie following the odyssey
of Ashitaka (voice of Billy Crudup), a young prince who had to leave his tribe because he was
infected with a poison that would corrupt him. It's a story of beasts, gods, and spirits, and
his discovery of Princess Mononoke, AKA San (Claire Danes), who is only once referred to as
Mononoke, which can often make the titling strategy quite confounding. Not to mention the fact
that the movie's poster is quite similar to that of "Caligula's" which coincidentally just
happens to be in re-release in honor of its 25th anniversary (but is anybody celebrating?).
"Mononoke's" assets lay not in its storytelling, but in the creative and imaginative
pictures it puts upon the screen. I was somewhat disappointed by the mundane story it presented,
but the fashion in which it presented it, made it completely worthwhile. The animation was
gorgeous --much more than that of "Tarzan," and it never required any sudden outbursts of
singing. What music they did use in the background, helped contribute to the overall effect of
fascination and amazement (the Tree Spirits were too cool), and again, if not a sappy ending, it
did not detract from the quality of the film. One of the most wildly imaginative and sensual
scenes included San sucking the blood out of her mother, a wolf god, after being shot, and then
spitting it out and smearing some of it across her face, and also a scene in which she must chew
Ashitaka's food for, and feed it to him (it is rated PG-13, but mostly for violence, a little
language, no sex).
What does detract from the film, it the obvious "white" sounding voices. Why not cast
unknown, Asian dialects? Billy Bob Thornton and Claire Danes would not have been my primary
candidates in the first place. Also, the running time is over two-hours and 20-minutes, more
than 40-minutes overlong, and rumored to have been even longer in its original Japanese format.
But no matter, "Princess Mononoke" is a beautiful film to look at with wonderfully textured and
top notch animation. I only wonder if Neil Gaiman, in charge of the English version of the
screenplay, did not manipulate director/writer Hayao Miyazaki's original vision. Although this
will no doubt be trampled in the rush for the other Japanese import, "Pokémon," out in theaters
tomorrow.

"Mononoke" makes me want to go back and watch some of Miyazaki's other works, such as the more popular "My Neighbor Totoro," and others. But I have a hard time grasping how someone like Ebert goes gaga over something like this when he constantly complains about lack of story quality and originality. Be consistent, don't go for the favortism route (as far as his raves go), but do catch it at some point, because the animation is beautiful.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1574&reviewer=172
originally posted: 11/11/99 03:49:04
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

3/04/14 PAUL SHORTT THOUGHTFUL AND BEAUTIFULLY ANIMATED 4 stars
7/04/08 Steve My favorite movie, and with out a doubt one of the best ever made, but not for young kids. 5 stars
10/28/07 Stephen Fantastic! I usually hate anime, but this was extremely good. 5 stars
9/12/06 Eden Pretty amazing - one of the best animated films ever made 5 stars
5/31/06 William Goss Gorgeous? No doubt. Good? Entertaining, at least. Great? Not so sure. 4 stars
4/22/06 Andrew Jones Supereb. I love the visuals ,and of course, the stroy is brilliant. 5 stars
4/11/06 Alex yupi 5 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer Rather dark for Miyazaki, but still a great film. 4 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Miyazaki creates a minor miracle. 5 stars
11/09/05 Katie this movie rules it rocks my socks man 5 stars
10/22/05 Jay Norris A fun and exciting trip. 4 stars
9/13/05 drew different 4 stars
5/25/05 Jake Great! Just Great, and this is coming from a guy who doesn't care about Japanese Anime! 5 stars
3/28/05 darkofnight Perfect pacing, jaw-dropping visuals, superb story - truly the greatest fantasy ever made. 5 stars
3/25/05 Taiko Yamanaka ITS THE BEST ANIME MOVIE EVER! ITS FREAKIN ALSUM!Every detail of the movie is breath taking 5 stars
1/31/05 clinger26 Oh god, this piece of crap puts on the hippie " harm the forest I'll kill you," this movie 1 stars
1/17/05 Dark Rain the best movie fuck the people who dont like it 5 stars
11/07/04 DM If you have seen this movie and don't like it, you're an idiot 5 stars
8/15/04 nick good 4 stars
4/21/04 Kagome I thought it was really kewl!!!! I had a lot of fun whaching it meny times!!! 5 stars
3/31/04 true review - correct review everytime Horrible bore with no plot, (typical Miyazaki) but brilliant compared to Spirited Away 1 stars
3/27/04 spongebobhater1017 This movie is highly overrated, sucks and Akira is far superior to this piece of shit!! 1 stars
3/15/04 Tom M. My favorite Miyazaki film. The beginning it awesome and it tails off a bit near the end. 5 stars
3/09/04 Jessica Bell I love this movie so much, it hurts when people say bad things about this movie! I love it! 5 stars
1/07/04 Raf Not as good as Spirited Away but Still in my top 10 list 4 stars
12/31/03 Ender Ohhhh man if I could rate this movie 20,000,000 stars I would. It is my all time favorite 5 stars
4/30/03 Procrastinator Truly inspiring bravery, some people who think this anime sux need a life 5 stars
4/15/03 reptilesni Overrated crap. 1 stars
3/12/03 Butterball Cenobite has great heart and lots of imagination; Dane's voice a bit "spoiled brat" sounding, though 5 stars
3/08/03 whitney i llllllllllllllloooooooooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee it. 5 stars
2/13/03 Loyd YO FUCK ALL THOSE BASTARDS WHO SAYS THIS MOVIE SUX ! THIS IS A GREAT PIECE OF ART ! 5 stars
12/23/02 E-Rock Anime at its best. Bested only by Akira and Miyzaki's other epic, Spirited Away... 5 stars
12/21/02 krystal this is the best movie in the world. not much more than perfect. 5 stars
11/10/02 STEVE WOW!FIRST TIME I WATCHED A MOVIE 2 TIMES IN A ROW. 5 stars
11/08/02 joe shmoe blah. it sucks donkey balls 1 stars
10/29/02 Getchell Williams F'n Awsome! It was the movie that got me loving anime! 5 stars
9/23/02 The Bomb 69 shame people won't watch this because it is animated. Their loss. 5 stars
6/28/02 Zefram Mann Beautiful movie with more heart than a lot of movies I've ever seen.. 5 stars
4/06/02 Junshi it wasn't spectacular, but it left some memories and moments 4 stars
3/28/02 NeuroManson Di$ney got greedy when they saw the $100 mill Jap box $$$, Di$ney got burned, haw haw haw! 5 stars
1/19/02 Rego Allegro No more an anime - it should get the same world wide recognition as the Seventh Samurai 5 stars
9/21/01 Kevin Garcia This is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. 5 stars
8/08/01 KC Au Very well drawn, but I won't watch it again! You can't force me, Ebert!! 3 stars
7/28/01 Steve I'm no anime fan/otaku, but GREAT movie. Shit translation though, get DVD and turn on subs. 5 stars
5/02/01 Phillip Amazing one of the best anime movies For all you otakus you should see vally of the wind! 5 stars
4/25/01 J It was a very fine anime movie and was one of 1999's best. 5 stars
3/24/01 Alex So pretty.... 5 stars
3/16/01 Spetters Beautiful visuals, but what the fuck was it all about? 3 stars
3/16/01 Janelle Niles It's the best move I ever seen! 5 stars
2/28/01 The Bomb 69 unbelievable stuff, eye candy!!! 5 stars
2/12/01 LOOBER Actually one of the best movies of the year 5 stars
2/10/01 Al Simply beautiful, best to see with eyes unclouded 5 stars
2/02/01 Aiken Drum I love what this Movie teaches to people. Superb 5 stars
1/27/01 Rahan Far too underrated. Disney *wishes* they could do something like this. 5 stars
1/20/01 Trausti It's beutiful and with photo realistic backgrounds and very imaginative,compare to disney 5 stars
1/17/01 Josh Tybur Original and beautiful, but just a little to mundane of a plot.... 4 stars
11/21/00 The Bill Head Extraordinarily compelling animated masterpiece-One of the top ten best animated films ever 5 stars
11/08/00 Greyjack I'd give it four and a half stars; I can't, but it's good enough to round up. Stellar film. 5 stars
9/18/00 Michael Grimm better than Phantom Menace, awesome!!! 5 stars
9/03/00 The Bomb 69 blew me away!!! animation and story were top notch!! 5 stars
9/02/00 spunkmirej Everything about this movie rocked! The plot was great. A great movie to see. 5 stars
6/28/00 Ari Nadir Omnys I loved it! The animation was breathtaking, and the plot was clever and well-thought-out. 5 stars
6/24/00 Aaron White Makes keychains out of most Disney films. Miyazaki's richest film, and that's rich fare. 5 stars
4/28/00 Xavier Michaut The film blowed me. I've seen it for times and I love it more each time. 5 stars
3/26/00 Laura There's just no getting around how awesome it is 5 stars
3/17/00 Lame-Oh much better than Pokemon: The First Movie, you just can't miss it! 5 stars
1/17/00 TomServo50 Breathtaking in its beauty and a tremendously good story. 5 stars
1/04/00 Gotham DK Animation not quite up to classic Disney, but Disney would never do something this original 5 stars
1/04/00 Morgan Watson Great movie... 5 stars
12/09/99 Slurpee_E The best anime I've ever seen. 5 stars
12/01/99 Alexander Smith Excellent. By all means, the best anime I have ever seen! 5 stars
11/26/99 Jimmy Betts One of my favorite Animes, Subtitled, however, is a better watch. 5 stars
11/21/99 Chloris Green I've seen it twice...and I want to see it agin. All of it met my highest standards. 5 stars
11/16/99 Charlie Tangora It's just so incredibly beautiful... 5 stars
11/16/99 Tom Wilkes Breathtaking animation, and characters one can care about. 5 stars
11/16/99 Herself the Elf Simply the most breathtakingly beautiful animated movie I've ever seen. 5 stars
11/16/99 Cynthia L. It has a sublety that obviously you missed. To see it on the big screen, a gift. 5 stars
11/11/99 nellardo Gorgeous, otherworldly, yet realistic 5 stars
11/08/99 focus Brilliant and magnificient! 5 stars
11/07/99 goryturd@hotmail this is a beautifully illustrated anime.I have seen other anime(lots of it too)and its..-> 5 stars
11/07/99 Justin Sevakis A masterpiece, pure and simple. 5 stars
11/03/99 Mr. Show This was the most boring piece of heavy handed crap I've seen since Fern Gully, And the a 1 stars
11/02/99 Paradox This is the second-best anime I've ever seen. The top one was by the same director... 5 stars
10/31/99 Critic Japanese Anime, good, but not the best, hollywood tint 3 stars
10/31/99 Watership Great Film! And guys.. Disney and Miyasaki are partners, so Disney doesn't exactly lose :P 5 stars
10/31/99 Lame-Oh This is the way anime movies should be made. You lose, Disney! 5 stars
10/28/99 relayer Stunning visuals are teamed with a good story. A must see! 5 stars
10/26/99 Roman The animation is awesome (story ain't bad either) 5 stars
10/26/99 elfpunkt Miyazaki will kick the crap out of any Disney Movie, any day. This just proves it. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Oct-1999 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  08-Feb-2001


Directed by
  Hayao Miyazaki

Written by
  Neil Gaiman
  Hayao Miyazaki

Cast
  Gillian Anderson
  Billy Crudup



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